Death crash youngster spared jail sentence

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A YOUNG DRIVER who caused a fatal crash when he overtook directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle has been spared jail today after a judge heard how the family of the Donington teenager who died bear no malice towards him.

Ben Burrows (21) was behind a Vauxhall Vectra when he pulled out to overtake on Mareham Lane, Sleaford. He failed to see the oncoming motorcycle ridden by A-level student John Van Spyk.

At a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on Tuesday, prosecutor David Outterside said there was a head-on collision and Mr van Spyk, who was returning to his home in Wykes Lane from St George’s Academy at Sleaford, lost his life.

Mr Outterside said: “The Vectra driver describes how he saw the headlights of the motorcycle approaching from Sleaford.

“He was aware of the defendant’s car behind him starting to overtake and realised a collision was inevitable. Burrows drove straight into the path of the oncoming motorcycle. He simply had not seen the motorcycle.”

John van Spyk died from injuries to his head and aorta. Burrows suffered minor injuries and needed hospital treatment.

He later told police he checked two or three times before pulling out, but he only saw the oncoming headlights when he was level with the car in front of him.

Burrows, who had no recollection of the impact, added: “I wish I’d seen him. I don’t drive stupid. I very rarely overtake.”

Burrows of Pine Close, Sleaford, admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention on November 5 last year. He was given 300 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for 12 months.

John’s mother Emma van Spyk was not present at the sentencing hearing but the court was told that she bears no malice against Burrows and regards him as also being a victim of the tragedy. She handed a statement to magistrates expressing her views at the last hearing.

Judge Sean Morris told Burrows “You made a fatal error and as a result of that a young man’s life was lost. This was not dangerous driving. It was a poor case of driving without proper attention. Lincolnshire roads are lethal and they require you to pay attention.

“I am quite satisfied that this has had a devastating effect on you and you are remorseful. I have been impressed by the fact that the van Spyk family bear you no malice.

“I pass the sentence because of your co-operation, your prompt and early admission of guilt and your remorse. I have also taken into account the mercy and dignity of the deceased’s family and their views.”

Neil Sands, for Burrows, said his client had suffered sleepless nights and nausea since the fatal crash.

“He simply cannot put into words the regret and remorse he has.”